LONDON (Reuters) – Antibiotic-resistant superbug infections kill around 33,000 people a year in Europe, health experts said on Monday (Nov. 5), and the burden of these diseases is comparable to influenza, tuberculosis and HIV combined.
An analysis by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) found that the impact of drug-resistant infections has increased since 2007, with increases in resistant insects to even the most powerful antibiotics of last resort – including a class of drugs known as carbapenems.
"This is worrying because these antibiotics are the last available treatment options," the ECDC said in a statement.
"When these are no longer effective, it is extremely difficult or, in many cases, impossible to treat infections."
Experts estimate that about 70 percent of the bacteria that cause infections are already resistant to at least one antibiotic commonly used to treat them.
This made the evolution of "superbugs" manage to avoid one or more drugs, one of the biggest threats that medicine today faces.
The ECDC study, published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, focused on five types of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU / EEA).
About 75 per cent of the burden of superbugal diseases has been found to be due to infections contracted in hospitals and health clinics – known as health care associated infections (IACS).
"Strategies to prevent and control antibiotic-resistant bacteria require coordination at EU / EEA and global level," he said. He added that because of the variations in the number of cases and the types of bacteria resistant to antibiotics that cause infections in different countries, prevention and control measures need to be adapted to national situations.